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    Today marks Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, signifying the number of days that a Black woman has to work to earn what white men earned in 2019. That is to say, it takes Black women 226 days to catch up to their white male coworkers’ earnings. 

    Why so long? To this day, Black women continue to make 62 cents to every dollarthat a white man earns. This is a pay disparity that has not tapered for the last 25 years. 

    The wealth gap is the offspring of America’s long history of racial injustice: slavery, segregation, redlining, and restricted access to welfare (and that's just the beginning). The reason why Black women are unduly burdened by the wealth gap, in particular, can be explained by what civil rights activist and Communist leader Claudia Jones coined as “triple oppression,”or the convergence of classism, racism, and sexism. This intersection of oppression entrenches racial and gender pay disparities by creating a cycle in which Black women are positioned at an economic disadvantage and therefore restricted from advanced educational opportunities and career advancement. 

    On average, according to the National Women’s Law Center,this pay disparity costs Black women $1,962 each month, $23,540 a year, and $941,600 over a 40-year career. And now, in the age of COVID-19, things are getting worse. 

    Consider this: 80 percent of Black women are the primary breadwinners for their families, and two-thirds are single mothers. Yet, they also comprise an overwhelming majority of essential workers, making up 26.1 percentof care aides, home health aides, and nursing assistants. Thus, the majority of Black women are charged with the dual responsibilities of caregiving and earning: both of which have been complicated by COVID-19. 

    Job losses have been skyrocketing for Black women since the start of the pandemic. According to a survey by the National Women’s Law Center and Mothering Justice, the pandemic has caused two-thirds of Black women living in Michigan to either lose their jobs or have their working hours reduced. Additionally, industries dominated by women have been more heavily impacted than industries dominated by men. These include retail, restaurants, and offices, each of which overrepresent Black women. Compounding these losses, research has revealed that in an economic shutdown, women and minorities tend to be the first fired and the last rehired. 

    Even though Black women were struggling to make ends meet before COVID-19, the consequential economic impacts have made Black Women's Equal Pay Day more important than ever. “If we do nothing, [the pay gap] won’t close for another 40 years,” C. Nicole Mason, president and CEO of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, told CBS News. “For Black and Latina women, it won’t close for more than 100 years.”

    Black women and their families cannot afford to wait another 100 years. To learn what you can do to celebrate Black Women’s Equal Pay (and by ‘celebrate,’ we mean fight against injustice, of course), check out some of these ideas here.

    Header image via @joshappel on Unsplash

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    Today is Equal Pay Day, the day dedicated to recognizing the gender wage gap. It’s a day we should celebrate to recognize the long history of wage disparity within the United States. When the discussion of equal pay comes up, the conversation often focuses on white women. Women of color are almost completely ignored or simply forgotten.

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, these are what which demographics make in comparison to the white man’s dollar in 2017:

    White Women: 77.0%
    Hispanic Women: 53.0%
    Asian Women: 85.1%
    *Native Women: 57.0%

    When the Equal Pay Act, women, on average, made only 58.9% of the white man’s dollar. Since the wage gap is slowly crawling to a close, however, it will take decades and possibly (literally) hundreds of years to end it. According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, by 2059 women’s median earnings will be the same as white men’s. From their research, they’ve deduced that Black women will have to wait until 2119 and Hispanic/Latina will have to wait until 2224.
    Obviously, the U.S. has a long way to go until all women achieve equal pay. To recognize their individual struggles, women of color have their own Equal Pay Days:(According to the National Women’s Law Center. The U.S. Census Bureau to not provide wage statistics for Native Women)

    Black Women: August 22, 2019
    Hispanic/Latina Women: November 20, 2019
    Asian Women: March 5, 2019
    Native/Indigenous Women: September 23, 2019


    Even though it is the general Equal Pay Day for all women, we’ve forgotten to acknowledge Asian women’s Equal Pay Day, which was back in March. This is another mark of society’s tendency to forget women of color in conversations concerning wage equity and why visibility is so important. In addition, mothers only make 71.0% of what fathers make. Their Equal Pay Day is June 10, 2019.

    Today, when you’re out with friends or having a conversation with co-workers, make sure to remember all women when discussing equal pay. Not just your white lady folk. To support Equal Pay Today, a project of Equal Rights Advocates, the organization who supports and organizes all women to achieve equal pay, you can donate hereand/or join here

     

    *According to the National Women’s Law Center. The U.S. Census Bureau to not provide wage statistics for Native Women

     

    Image via Pexels

     

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